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The J Pizzel
2009-07-07, 11:52 AM
I finished A Feast for Crows the other day and now I'm out of books to read. I've got the a bunch of R. A. Salvatore books left to read, but I can't bring myself to actually read them now. The "always happy never sad, nothing happends to good guys, no character development high fantasy" just isn't doing it for me. Can someone recomend me a new series that is in the vain of ASoIaF. I'm looking for realism, gritty, attention to character development, somewhat mature audiences only. And so help me, if anyone recomends Robert Jordan....I swear to the seven gods I will kill a puppy.

A quick list of what I've read:
ASoIaF
All David Eddings
All Terry Brooks
All Tolkien
Most Raymond E. Feist
Some Terry Goodkind
The first Dragonlance Trilogy (Chronicles?)
...and a few more.

I've read some Star Wars, but find them generally poorly written. I've read Force Unleashed (awful book), Rise of Vador (not too bad), Episode III (the best so far) and the first Bane book (not bad either)

I'd rather something more in the fantasy genre but I am willing to go Sci-Fi. Modern is out the window.

Thanks.

Eldan
2009-07-07, 11:55 AM
Perhaps Tad Williams might interest you, specifically Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memory,_Sorrow,_and_Thorn). The books shares a few things with the Song, mainly starting in a world with almost no magic and gradually introducing more, though it's a good bit less gritty. While it focuses on characters, the story is sometimes a little bit too predictable, especially towards the finale. Still, pretty good.
The supernatural bad guys are even somewhat similar.

Liffguard
2009-07-07, 12:04 PM
The Prince of Nothing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_of_Nothing) by R. Scott Bakker. An extremely dark, philosophical, epic, character-driven trilogy about war, spirtuality and politics. A bit like what Dune would have been like if it was set during the crusades and co-written by George R. R. Martin and Gene Wolfe.

The Long Price Quartet (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Abraham_%28author%29#The_Long_Price_Quartet ) by Daniel Abraham. Less dark and violent than A Song of Ice and Fire but similarly complex. Again, highly character-driven and focusing on complicated politics and inter-personal relations. It also contains a very interesting magic system.

ThunderCat
2009-07-07, 12:25 PM
Perhaps Robin Hobb's Farseer and Tawny Man trilogy. There's quite a bit of angst, and most of the the characters are not as likeable as in typical fantasy, but it's well written, and takes place in a very low magic and gritty world.

Tengu_temp
2009-07-07, 12:28 PM
The Witcher is like SoFaI with more humour, not as dark, and older. I don't know how good is the English translation, but these books remain among the classics of Polish fantasy (which is in general darker and less heroic than western fantasy).

Theolotus
2009-07-07, 01:14 PM
I confess I've never read George R.R. Martin, but I know who I'd recommend for a gritty, well developed characters.

Jim Butcher is best known for a series called "The Dresden Files". It's modern and out of the question based on your post; however, another series by the same author is the "Codex Alara". The "Codex" books are more sterotyped setting, but not in writing. I find myself cheering on the "villians" as often as the "heroes".

Another book to look into is "Morningstar" by David Gemmell. The book details the true story behind a "legend", who is one of the most callous, underhanded, scoundrels that I've ever read. Gemmell is a master of gritty settings in fantasy, and this book is one of the best.

If you are wanting a little sci-fi, Assimov's "I, Robot" and Heinlein's "Starship Troopers" are both well developed, though please dont judge the books by the movies.

As an added bonus, most of these books are available at a decent sized library, and dont require you to purchase them if they aren't what you're looking for.

hope that helped!

KIDS
2009-07-07, 01:23 PM
It's not a long saga like ASOIAF, but rather a collection of stories from all over George R.R. Martin's career - I recommend Dreamsongs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dreamsongs) which I've really enjoyed of late.

Also, while I also find Star Wars books to be a disappointment, the Thrawn Triology (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heir_to_the_empire) was one of the finest books I've ever read, not only in Star Wars. It definitely deserves your attention as the series that stands out from the rest of the books.

Morty
2009-07-07, 01:32 PM
The Witcher is like SoFaI with more humour, not as dark, and older. I don't know how good is the English translation, but these books remain among the classics of Polish fantasy (which is in general darker and less heroic than western fantasy).

Having read some of the Last Wish in English, I'd say that I was dissapointed by it. It just doesn't have the liveness and colour of Sapkowski's prose. It's also been censored to hell and beyond, but that's not necessarily a bad thing for many people, I guess.

Mordar
2009-07-07, 01:51 PM
I'm surprised no one has mentioned it yet...but here's my recommendation:

The Wheel of Time by...oh, just kidding.

Dune by Frank Herbert.

This is quite possibly the sun source of all the Fantasy/Sci-Fi megaseries, including ASoIaF, Wheel, Sword of Truth, and probably many many others.

I remember being struck by the depth of plotting...the intricate web Herbert wove across these admittedly massive volumes and wondering how someone could envision it all...and then encapsulate it in a fashion millions could enjoy.

The series is, at times, preachy and definitely rife with commentary and philosophy, but at its heart (particularly in Dune) it is a story Shakespeare could have written (and almost certainly inspired Herbert).

The cast of characters is significant and many are well-realized. Lots of grit, realism abounds and it probably one of the few books that I think is actually Fantasy/Sci-fi, as it is set in a far future with advanced technology...but a heavy spice of the Fantasy-laced past. (Yeah, okay...I couldn't get away without at least 1 spice reference)

In short, I think you'll enjoy it.

- M

Erloas
2009-07-07, 02:03 PM
Well I don't know if I would say they are similar or not, but I liked Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained by Peter F. Hamilton. I've also read all of the ASoIaF and liked it, at least for the most part, I have some issue with his desire to kill just about every character he creates. (I know he claims its to show no one has plot armor, but I think that excuse was clear after the first few deaths and I think its done more later just so he can easily get rid of characters after hes done with them.)

It is sci-fi, as the name might imply. The story is very character driven, or at least character involved seeing as how the characters don't create the story, they are used to tell a larger story. There are also a lot of groups of characters that tell parts of the story from different angles, both of which is fairly similar to how ASoIaF is done. While the story is very epic in scale, it isn't individually epic like something like LOTR.
It has a fair amount of mature themes, and the world is fairly gritty, but not as brutally gritty as ASoIaF is.

I don't normally read sci-fi but I really enjoyed the books. In fact I wasn't even looking for a sci-fi book, I just happened to find this book along with 2-3 others in a little pile near a dumpster in an apartment complex I was living in and picked them up and decided to read them. (I can't think of what the other ones were right now, but they weren't nearly as good. And yes, they were all in very good condition)

valadil
2009-07-07, 02:10 PM
No one compares to GRRM.

But you might want to try Scott Lynch. His first book, The Lies of Locke Lamora, got good reviews from GRRM. It's good stuff, especially if you like thieves and scoundrels. The book is definitely lighter than ice and fire, but there's plenty of grit and the protagonists get tortured pretty thoroughly before it's all said and done.

Liffguard
2009-07-07, 03:01 PM
Damn it, how could I forget?

The First Law trilogy (http://www.joeabercrombie.com/books.htm) and it's standalone followup, Best Served Cold, both by Joe Abercrombie. It's a bit of a send-up of heroic fantasy conventions but also counts as a very solid part of that genre. Both plot and character driven, it's much less complex than A Song of Ice and Fire but IMO better paced and more fun. It starts off quite cliched but don't make assumptions, nothing is quite as it seems. Oh, and it has some of the most pitch-black, laugh-out-loud gallows humour I've read in a while.

The_JJ
2009-07-07, 03:09 PM
I'll second Lynch and Dune (I at least try to ignore the sequels) and throw in a recomendation for Glen Cook's Black Company series. Good for that moral greyness, well realized and dynamic charactors (which is what hooked my on Martin and Cook both) cool saga, and... unquantified magic to make it intresting. Spell slots works well on the tabletop, not in prose.

H. Zee
2009-07-07, 03:43 PM
Damn it, how could I forget?

The First Law trilogy (http://www.joeabercrombie.com/books.htm) and it's standalone followup, Best Served Cold, both by Joe Abercrombie. It's a bit of a send-up of heroic fantasy conventions but also counts as a very solid part of that genre. Both plot and character driven, it's much less complex than A Song of Ice and Fire but IMO better paced and more fun. It starts off quite cliched but don't make assumptions, nothing is quite as it seems. Oh, and it has some of the most pitch-black, laugh-out-loud gallows humour I've read in a while.

This. Seconded so very hard.

comicshorse
2009-07-07, 04:13 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liffguard View Post
Damn it, how could I forget?

The First Law trilogy and it's standalone followup, Best Served Cold, both by Joe Abercrombie. It's a bit of a send-up of heroic fantasy conventions but also counts as a very solid part of that genre. Both plot and character driven, it's much less complex than A Song of Ice and Fire but IMO better paced and more fun. It starts off quite cliched but don't make assumptions, nothing is quite as it seems. Oh, and it has some of the most pitch-black, laugh-out-loud gallows humour I've read in a while.
This. Seconded so very hard.

And thirded (?). For gritty nasty world and interesting characters it is my favourite.

Dhavaer
2009-07-07, 04:51 PM
The Prince of Nothing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_of_Nothing) by R. Scott Bakker. An extremely dark, philosophical, epic, character-driven trilogy about war, spirtuality and politics. A bit like what Dune would have been like if it was set during the crusades and co-written by George R. R. Martin and Gene Wolfe

Seconded. Technically the series is called 'Second Apocalypse'; 'The Prince of Nothing' is the first trilogy. The second is 'The Aspect-Emperor'. The books currently out are The Darkness That Comes Before, The Warrior-Prophet, The Thousandfold Thought and The Judging Eye. The next will the The White-Luck Warrior.

Xondoure
2009-07-07, 05:05 PM
Not gritty, but a book that has a lot of fun characters, and explores a lot of fun themes is Cluster, by Piers Anthony, that, and his Xanth novels. True, it isn't as morbid as what you're looking for, but the guy is a genius, comedic, and otherwise.

The_JJ
2009-07-07, 05:48 PM
Until the later books, when it's just nonstop really bad puns. :smallfrown: I started out very promising...

GAThraawn
2009-07-07, 06:05 PM
I (obviously) second the reccomendation of the Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn as being far above the typical standard of Star Wars novels, and one of my favourite reads. Unfortunatly, I haven`t read much fantasy other than the esteemed Mr. Martin, so I can't offer any reccomendations there.

Philistine
2009-07-07, 06:16 PM
Tad Williams has already been mentioned, but I'll throw in that Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn was supposedly the series that inspired GRRM to write fantasy at all. The War of the Flowers is another good one by Williams, plus it's a single volume!

Glen Cook has also been mentioned. Going by the creteria listed in the OP, just about any of his stuff should fit the bill. Except, maybe, the Garrett, P.I. books - as Cook's one almost-purely comic series, they might be a little lighter than the OP is looking for.

I haven't seen either of these mentioned so far, but I think the OP might enjoy Stephen R. Donaldson's Chronicles of Thomas Covenant (just know that Donaldson does tend to be a love-him-or-hate-him kind of author). There's also Steven Erikson's Malazan series.

Jimor
2009-07-08, 05:14 AM
David B. Coe (http://www.sff.net/people/davidbcoe/)'s Winds of the Forelands series. Has the added benefit of being done. :smalltongue:

Seriously, back in my bookselling days, I had more people come back to thank me for this recommendation than any other.

Satyr
2009-07-08, 05:22 AM
Abercrombie's The First Law is just a very well-written and gritty fantasy tale. It was actually surprised how well it was written for a first work. Best Served Cold, was some kind of a letdown, not because it isn't a decent book in itself, but it doesn't keep up to the first trilogy.
Yes, I know it was mentioned before, but these books are recommendable that they are worth the repeating recommendation.

Similar is Richard Morgan's The Steel Remains. It is a similar grim world, and similarly ambivalent protagonists, but I haven't finished it yet. Some people may be confused by the majorly gay primary characters.

Megatron46
2009-07-08, 06:04 AM
I too support Scott Lynch and Joe Abercrombie, although I haven't read Abercrombie's new one! Richard Morgan also is awsome, just started "The Steel Remains" too, although I've read his Science Fiction which is awsome!

I mentioned these on another thread too, but Steven Eriksons Malazan Tales of the Fallen series, starting with "Garden's of the Moon". Currently he has just published book 8 of a 10 book series, he publishes one a year, (and even better, he always meets the deadline- Huzzah), and they are brilliant. Complex, multi-strand narrative, epic in scale, cool magic system, and not afraid to do the unexpected with chracters you love. He co-created the series with Ian Cameron Esslemont who has written 2 books out of 5 which also contribute to the over-all story line. I know I'm probably preaching to the converted, but you must read these in order or you will get bloody confused!

Also, Adrian Tchaikovsi's 'Shadow's of the Apt' series. They're okay, some quite interesting ideas, especially with the insect avatar style thing, but quite predictable.

Dhavaer
2009-07-08, 06:21 AM
I mentioned these on another thread too, but Steven Eriksons Malazan Tales of the Fallen series, starting with "Garden's of the Moon".

It's actually 'Tales of the Malazan Book of the Fallen'.

Megatron46
2009-07-08, 06:24 AM
It's actually 'Tales of the Malazan Book of the Fallen'.

Oops, my mistake!

pita
2009-07-08, 06:50 AM
GRRM has been writing since the sixties.
Dreamsongs is a short story collection, taking stories from all of his life, including the prequel story "The Hedge Knight" taking place in the ASOIAF universe.
Fevre Dreams is the greatest vampire novel ever written
Wild Cards is a huge book series written by many many authors and edited by GRRM. All of the books have his style of story, and are written by fantasy legends like Roger Zelazny.
Dying of the Light is a vampire novel I've heard isn't that great for GRRM (Sort of like American Gods is the worst of Neil Gaiman)
The Armageddon Rag is an excellent novel, a sort of retrospective made in the 80s about the 60s.
Tuf Voyaging is a book of short stories all centered around one character, Haviland Tuf, an incredibly original GRRM character.
And there's a book he wrote with another author, that's supposed to be very mediocre for both of them, I don't remember it, the something of Windhaven.
EDIT- Yes, he's my favorite author, and I'm a very active member of the semi-official fan forums. I also enjoyed Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, but graphic novels are expensive.

The J Pizzel
2009-07-08, 09:04 AM
OP here. Thanks for all the recomendations. I think I'll be going with the Tad Williams and Joe Abercrombie books. I'll probably find some of those earlier Martin collections as well though.

Question. I heard the the Dragonlance books mainly go down hill after the initial series. But I thought I'd heard that the "Twins" series was really good. The ones about Raistlin and Caramon and the tower and all that. Are those any good?

jP

Varen_Tai
2009-07-08, 10:25 AM
Dragonlance - as a kid, I enjoyed 'em. They seemed deep to me, especially the Twins trilogy. However, as an adult who has read Tad Williams, GRRM, etc, they seem very trite and shallow.

And I'll add that anything by Tad Williams is excellent. I have yet to read anything by him that was superb. Though a note on Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn - it's like, 100 pages, maybe 150 before ANYTHING happens. It's all important exposition, but you really have to slog through the first section. Once you do, it doesn't slow down at all until the series ends.

Enjoy!

Eldan
2009-07-08, 10:31 AM
Meh. I recommended Memory, Sorrow & Thorn, because I knew it inspired Martin, but honestly, I didn't think it was all that great. It had great characters and a well-written world but a pretty shallow story with obvious twists.

FoE
2009-07-08, 10:31 AM
Perhaps Tad Williams might interest you, specifically Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memory,_Sorrow,_and_Thorn). The books shares a few things with the Song, mainly starting in a world with almost no magic and gradually introducing more, though it's a good bit less gritty. While it focuses on characters, the story is sometimes a little bit too predictable, especially towards the finale. Still, pretty good.

Hey! I was going to suggest that!

Actually, I'd suggest his Stormmarch series. A low-magic fantasy series with a fair bit of political intrigue.

If you want a one-shot novel of his to start with, try the War of the Flowers.

Eldan
2009-07-08, 10:35 AM
Hey! I was going to suggest that!

Actually, I'd suggest his Stormmarch series. A low-magic fantasy series with a fair bit of political intrigue.

If you want a one-shot novel of his to start with, try the War of the Flowers.

You mean Shadowmarch? I've read the first two books and it seems he's building towards pretty high magic now.

Mordar
2009-07-08, 12:40 PM
Question. I heard the the Dragonlance books mainly go down hill after the initial series. But I thought I'd heard that the "Twins" series was really good. The ones about Raistlin and Caramon and the tower and all that. Are those any good?
jP

Well, I'm still rooting for Dune, but I'll let that slide for now :-)

Dragonlance, much like Forgotten Realms or *any* other series of books with 86-bijillion volumes will certainly have some dogs. The Twins books (Legends, wasn't it?) has its moments and while not as emotionally binding or epic as the Chronicles for the readers, particularly the first go-round (as mentioned by Varen_Tai), they are more character driven.

I really liked some of the race-specific books, though my favorite wasn't exactly deep, gritty or realistic..unless you mean the tunnels, dirt which coated, and stentch that surrounded Gully Dwarves (one of the Lost Histories series).

However, the Elven Nations trilogy (Firstborn, Kinslayer Wars and Qualinesti) were quite good and had a much greater depth than the heroic epic of the Chronicles. Not saying this set was better...just a very different genre.

Finally, another of the the Lost Histories, Kargonesti, was, as I recall another good read and my favorite of the DL elves.

- M

PS: Have you read or considered the Gunslinger/Dark Tower books by King?

pita
2009-07-08, 02:03 PM
In my opinion, the Twins trilogy was the best of the best of Dragonlance. It actually had a poignant ending, and the characters were believable, except for that !@#$ing kender.
I've told everyone I play D&D with that if they ever say the word Kender in a way that does not imply they want to kill all Kenders, I will make it my duty to kill off their character. Or, if they're the DM, send their game world into chaos. I've done it before :)
EDIT- But again, nothing Wizards of the Coast (or TSR) ever published is anywhere near GRRM. Hell, my favorite campaign setting wasn't even written by them. (Scarred Lands)

FoE
2009-07-08, 05:34 PM
You mean Shadowmarch? I've read the first two books and it seems he's building towards pretty high magic now.

Yejah, ssssometuhing lik e that.

Sttop ca,ling atteitnion to mah drinkoing prolbl.em!

Brewdude
2009-07-08, 08:24 PM
Tad Williams: I found unreadable.
Robin Hobb: I found too preachy.

DUNE: MUST READ. (Dune sequels: must avoid) by Frank Herbert.

"The Black Company" by Glen Cook is going to be closest to the feel you are looking for after having read GRRM.

"Gardens of the Moon" by Steven Erikson is the first of "malazan book of the fallen". Also what you are looking for.

Heed not the other recommendations, or you will be left angry and let down. :)

Talanic
2009-07-08, 09:31 PM
I don't want to spam the boards, but I think it's topical here. I've got an ebook that you can look at if you're desperate enough. (http://www.authonomy.com/ViewBook.aspx?bookid=7961).

The_JJ
2009-07-08, 11:13 PM
Hi Brewdude, I'ma gonna label you clone number 187. High five for good taste.

Seriously, it's kinda weird how many of the people on these forums share my taste. Sometimes I suspect my multiple personalities are posting under different account names.

Zombie Nixon
2009-07-08, 11:30 PM
Prince of nothing should be right up your alley.

It's probably better than Asoiaf, if only because Bakker bothers to write a new book once in a while

Willfor
2009-07-09, 12:16 PM
Tigana (http://www.amazon.com/Tigana-Guy-Gavriel-Kay/dp/0451457765/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1247159742&sr=8-1) by Guy Gavriel Kay. It's deeply character based, and not one of them walks away from the book unscathed. It has its flaws, but it ranks among the books as good as ASoIaF in my opinion. :smallsmile:

pita
2009-07-09, 12:21 PM
GRRM actually publishes very often.
Wild Cards had 2 books come out in 2008. Additionally, he published Hunter's Run either that year or before. I think there was a 5 year gap in which he wasn't writing after ASOS (and ended with AFFC), which was his biggest gap since the 10 year gap he took after The Armageddon Rag (Which ended with A Game of Thrones), and the 16 year gap it took after his birth (Which ended with the horrible short story Only Children are Afraid of the Dark. And I thought I loved everything he wrote).

Sallera
2009-07-09, 12:34 PM
Adding another mention for Kay. The Lions of Al-Rassan is better, though. A Song for Arbonne is also good.

warty goblin
2009-07-09, 12:39 PM
Tad Williams: I found unreadable.


Really, you too? I read some Williams, and couldn't pinpoint anything exactly wrong with the experience, except that parts of my brain kept shutting down and I'd rather be doing something else, like painting grass. Then I could watch the paint dry and the grass grow.

Astrella
2009-07-09, 01:34 PM
Have you read "Dying Light" by Martin himself? (Since I noticed you only listed Song)

pita
2009-07-10, 05:53 AM
It's "Dying of the Light", and I've mentioned it among other books of Martin.
Read Martin's other work. None of it is Song, but it's all amazing stuff compared to 99.999% of the stuff out there.

Astrella
2009-07-10, 07:11 AM
It's "Dying of the Light", and I've mentioned it among other books of Martin.
Read Martin's other work. None of it is Song, but it's all amazing stuff compared to 99.999% of the stuff out there.

Well, I just translated the Dutch title.